“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:2–3)
The World Council of Churches has boycotted products made by Jews that are manufactured in Biblical Israeli towns, which today are called settlements.
This past December, the 5,000-member American Studies Association (ASA), an academic organization devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history, targeted Israel with its first ever boycott against a nation.
Specifically, the boycott targets Israel’s universities and academic institutions, accusing Israel of denying academic freedom to Palestinians.
“Such actions are misguided and greatly troubling, as they strike at the heart of academic freedom,” Molly Corbett Broad, the president of the American Council of Education, said.
“What foolishness,” wrote the editorial board of the Chicago Sun-Times. “Israel, for all its perceived failings, is among the most intellectually open societies in the world, where public discourse—especially about Israel’s perceived failings—is freewheeling and relentless.”
Last week, 134 House lawmakers condemned the ASA action as “bias against the Jewish state” and “morally dishonest.”
Israeli universities consist of both Jewish and Arab students and teachers.
On Friday, they sent a letter criticizing the ASA for undermining academic freedom, stating:
“The university is an institution intended to foster, encourage, and inspire constructive dialogue and original thought.
“However, this boycott undermines academic freedom by prohibiting educational and cultural exchanges with Israeli universities and academic institutions.
“Even more concerning is the singular targeting of Israel for boycott.”
“Like all democracies, Israel is not perfect. But to single out Israel, while leaving relationships with universities in autocratic and repressive countries intact, suggests thinly-veiled bigotry and bias against the Jewish state.” (WFB)
Around the world, anti-Israel sentiment is rising on campuses, including among academics.
While it is expected that academics should be the most informed and the least willing to act on political motives, the rise of global anti-Semitism in the last twenty years has resulted in many academics openly demonizing Israel.
Although the ASA move threatens the very academic freedom that it claims to protect, shortly after the announcement was made, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NA ISA) decided to join the boycott.
The smaller Association for Asian American Studies voted for a similar boycott last spring.
Over 100 university presidents opposed the ASA boycott, however.
Among those who opposed it were Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Cornell, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and New York University.
As well, after last month’s boycott vote, the American Studies’ programs of five universities withdrew their membership in the ASA, including Brandeis, Indiana, and Penn State Harrisburg.
While it is encouraging that some institutions have rejected the ASA move as undemocratic, the ASA action is a wake-up call.
The MLA Blames Israel
This month, the Modern Language Association (MLA) added to its annual conference a one-sided panel entitled “Academic Boycotts: A Conversation about Israel and Palestine.”
Although the MLA did not pass a resolution expressing solidarity with academics that boycott Israel, it did approve a resolution that blames Israel for its “denials of entry to the West Bank by U.S. academics who have been invited to teach, confer, or do research at Palestinian universities.’’
The number of these denials, however, is infinitesimally small.
According to a report issued by MLA members who oppose the resolution, Israel’s refusal rate was less than one percent, at about 0.024 percent. Of 626,000 Americans who wanted to enter the disputed territories, only 142 were denied entry.
Israel’s refusal rate is low when compared to U.S. refusal rates of Israelis applying for temporary “B” visas. The U.S. has restricted 5.4 percent of Israelis.
“The chance of an Israeli wanting to come to America and being refused by the American authorities for getting a visa is 200 times greater than that of an American trying to enter Israel,” said Ilan Troen, director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University and professor at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. (Algemeiner)
The BDS Movement and Nazi Boycotts of Jews
The boycott effort of the ASA and MLA are part of a much larger worldwide campaign—the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement—which has been growing over the last decade.
The BDS Movement, which was birthed by Palestinians in 2005, unjustifiably accuses Israel of enforcing a policy of Apartheid.
According to the movement’s charter, its purpose is to pressure Israel through economic and political means to end Israel’s “occupation and colonization of Arab land.”
Boycotts by the Arab nations are not new to Israel, especially not in the present age.
They began on a small scale against Zionist institutions and Jewish businesses even before the modern state was founded, as early as 1922.
The number of academics buying into today’s internationally waged Palestinian misinformation campaign is disheartening.
What is most discouraging about such boycotts is that they are the very steps the Nazis took in their initial attack against the Jews.
Nazis enforced a boycott against Jewish businesses and professions with Stormtrooper thugs physically preventing customers from entering Jewish shops.
Signs were posted saying “Don’t Buy from Jews! (Kauf nicht bei Juden!),” “The Jews Are Our Misfortune! (Die Juden sind unser Unglück!)” and “Go to Palestine! (Geh nach Palästina!).”
This was followed by the confiscation of property and internment of the owners in concentration camps, many of whom died there.
The Jewish People: A Blessing to the Entire World
“I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:3)
When God called Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, from Ur of the Chaldees, He promised not only to bless his descendants, but also that his descendants would then be a blessing to the entire world.
As promised in Genesis, all of the peoples on earth, whether or not they appreciate it, are being blessed by Abraham’s descendants, the Jewish People, as well as the nation of Israel.
The greatest treasures that they have given the world, of course, are the Bible and the Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus).
“We worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.” (John 4:22)
Today, the Jewish People, who represent only about 0.02% of the world’s population, have made significant contributions to science, medicine, technology, and agriculture.
One measure of that contribution is the Nobel Prize.
In the Nobel Prize categories for medicine, chemistry, economics, physics and literature, the tiny world minority called the Jews consistently win, historically acquiring on average 22 percent of those awards.
Many of the marvels that Jewish people have either created or helped develop are taken for granted, including anesthesia, penicillin, blood groups, and the theory of relativity that have made possible such inventions as the GPS (global position system).
In terms of Israel’s contributions, Israeli know-how has advanced computer technology.
Intel Israel developed the 8088 processor in its Haifa laboratory in 1979.
IBM’s first PC was based on this Israeli invention.
In the 1990s, Israeli engineers developed MMX technology leading to the Pentium chip, greatly improving computer capabilities. Most recently, the Intel processor, codenamed Haswell and designed for ultrabooks and tablets, was partly developed in Israel. (JPost)
Another innovation that changed the world of computer data management is the Disk-on-Key or thumb drive developed by SanDisk, which was invented by Dov Moran.
Here are but a few of many other life-changing Israeli developments:
- A drug treatment for multiple sclerosis (Copaxone immunomodulator)
- The Pillcam (a swallowable capsule for diagnostic imaging)
- The Iron Dome missile defense system
- The Injured Personnel Carrier
- Quicktionary (mobile translator)
- The Laser Keyboard
- ICQ (instant messaging)
- Drip irrigation
- Waze (GPS-based geographical navigation application program for smartphones)
- Artificial gills (currently in testing)
- Transparent photovoltaic glass windows (Pythagoras Solar)
- BabySense (no-touch breathing monitor to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
Why We Should Bless Israel
“Therefore this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will punish the king of Babylon and his land as I punished the king of Assyria.'” (Jeremiah 50:18)
Israel’s modern-day contributions to the world are enough reason to bless her, but the Bible gives many more reasons.
We should bless Israel if we want to experience God’s blessing in our lives. Genesis 12:3 states that God will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse her.
History has underlined this truth time and again; for example, during the time of Moses, the Egyptian empire was destroyed and its army was drowned in the Red Sea after the Pharaoh repressed the Jews and refused to let them go.
As well, God diminished the Assyrian and Babylonian empires because they destroyed Israel (Jeremiah 50:17–18).
Later, the Roman Empire collapsed not long after it destroyed the Second Temple and enslaved many Jewish People.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May those who love you be secure.'” (Psalm 122:6)
In Romans 15:27, Paul teaches that Christians should bless Israel materially since they owe the Jewish People a debt of gratitude for the Bible, not to mention the Prophets, the Patriarchs, and Yeshua of Nazareth, as well as the disciples and the apostles.
This idea that blessing Israel brings blessing is not just a theory; the Brit Chadashah tells of Gentile Believers who loved Israel and were blessed: the centurion in Luke 7:5, and Cornelius in Acts 10:2.
“He loveth our nation, and He hath built us a synagogue.” (Luke 7:5)
Israel: the Jewish Homeland
“Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.” (Matthew 1:17)
Although the BDS movement claims that Israel is an occupying force and that the Jewish People are living on Arab land, the Jewish People have continuously been in Israel for well over 3,000 years.
Roughly 1,700 years before Yeshua was born, God made an unconditional land grant to Abraham and his descendants—an everlasting covenant.
“I will establish My covenant as an everlasting covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17:7–8)
Rather than joining forces with those who call for boycotts of Israel, we should be doing everything in our power to bless Israel and the Jewish People.
It is in everyone’s best interest to take a stand against anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism, for whoever touches Israel touches the apple of His eye. (Zechariah 2:8)
Why would anyone willingly poke God in the eye by sanctioning His people, dividing up the land promised in His unconditional and everlasting covenant with them, and boycotting their schools and businesses?
Indeed, those who are targeting Israel may soon find themselves in the same position as so many others who have attacked her: instead of receiving God’s blessing, their power, their movement, or their nation will diminish and crumble.
“I will shake my hand over them, and they shall become plunder for those who served them.” (Zechariah 2:9)
Romans 11:11 states that salvation came to the Gentiles to provoke the Jewish People to jealousy. A few verses later, however, Paul promises even more blessing for the world when they accept Yeshua as Messiah.
“What will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” (Romans 11:15)
Paul states that one day all of Israel will be saved (Romans 11:25–26).
Yeshua is returning soon and when He does, the Jewish People will cry out, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.” (Psalm 118:26)